Pattaya venues call for 1am closing time

CHONBURI: Operators of nightlife venues in Pattaya that have reclassified as restaurants in a bid to stay in business during the pandemic have urged the government to extend restaurant serving times with alcoholic beverages beyond 11 p.m.

A new sign illuminates the entrance to Walking Street in Pattaya, Chon Buri. Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut/Bangkok Post

As pubs, bars and karaoke parlors still cannot open, some venues in Pattaya have turned into restaurants to circumvent the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration’s ban, but many owners have delayed reopening as they consider closing at 11 p.m. to be too early to be profitable, said Damrongkiat Pinitkarn, secretary of the Pattaya Association of Entertainment Venue Operators.

He said tourists from Europe, the United States, Russia and other countries are starting to return to Pattaya, and night entertainment spots on the central walking street should be ready to reopen as restaurants for welcome them back, reports the Bangkok Post.

However, sites that primarily cater to Chinese tourists may have a longer wait in front of them.

Mr Damrongkiat said tourists from South Korea are also coming back because they don’t need to self-quarantine.

Business operators must hold talks immediately to devise measures to attract more tourists, as some neighboring countries vying for foreign tourists have also waived their quarantine requirements, he said.

Damrongkiat said he hoped the tourism sector would rebound quickly and tourism-related businesses would be able to resume operations from April.

The situation is expected to improve further if the opening hours of nighttime entertainment venues are extended to 1 a.m. as before, he noted.

He also warned that daily reports of rising numbers of new COVID-19 infections released by the Ministry of Public Health could deter foreign tourists from visiting the kingdom.

Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary for public health, said earlier that daily updates could end soon as health authorities change the focus of their briefings towards the emergence of new groups of what are thought will soon be classified as an endemic disease.

The ministry will now only report new infections in provinces with severe outbreaks for the sake of containment and efficiency, he said.

However, critics have expressed concern about it, saying members of the public have the right to be kept informed of the situation without having to search for the information themselves online.

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